The Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand is a popular destination not just for travelers, but also for cyclists who enjoy the 23.5-km Sky Lane bicycle path around the airport. But before November 2015, cyclists could only use the track during daytime hours. The challenge of adding lights to extend nighttime hours, while maintaining a green footprint, was solved by installing solar lighting and Aquion batteries.
Lighting the Way
Illuminating the entire path required 700+ LED lights, each powered individually by a small solar panel and an Aquion 24 volt battery. The entire system is DC, so it does not require any power conversion equipment. This design reduced the cost of the system components and greatly simplified the installation and maintenance.
A big driver for this project was the airport’s desire to help the environment as well as their bottom line. They wanted a solution that was environmentally friendly but would also last many years. Regularly servicing each of the 700+ lights would be impossible, so the system had to need little or no maintenance and be highly reliable.
The installation would also need to withstand high Bangkok temperatures without active cooling. Due to their temperature limitations, lead acid and lithium ion batteries simply weren't feasible options.
Aquion helped the Suvarnabhumi Airport install one 24 volt battery stack in each of the 700+ light fixtures. While using batteries certainly avoided the cost of purchasing electricity from the grid, it also dramatically reduced the cost of lighting installation. Rather than run power cables the entire length of the 23.5 km path, the airport powered each light independently and avoided overly-complicated (and costly) electrical work. The battery stacks could just be plugged directly into the lighting system and begin operating immediately.
Each light pole includes a solar panel at the top and an Aquion battery inside the base
Aquion batteries also greatly reduced the lighting system's forecasted replacement and maintenance needs. Traditional sealed lead acid batteries would last only a few years in Bangkok's 25°C-30°C heat, while these temperatures will not degrade the rated cycle life of Aquion batteries.
Aquion and the airport completed the lighting system in December. Since then, thousands of cyclists every week have enjoyed the beautiful Sky Lane bike path, lit entirely by solar energy: directly by the sun during the day and by clean Aquion Energy batteries into the night.